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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  June 1, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am EDT

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signature is as large as the preamble of the constitution on the side of that bus. it's sharp. >> it's a landmark. >> it is. it's a moving landmark. faiz, thanks for as our budget crisis worsens by the day, our politics is dominated by twitter, bad pizza and bad helicopter rides. >> i was pranked. i was hacked. i was punked whatever it is. >> demagogued. >> republicans in washington are still trying to kill medicare and not raise the debt ceiling, but the anti-social media is fixated on a twitter scandal.ç >> i didn't send anything to anybody. >> wiener is saying it was a prank. >> he was the victim of a prank. >> the implication here is someone i did something wrong to someone else. >> this is someone thinking
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about running for the mayor of new york city in 2013. >> i'm an easy name to make fun of. >> the congressman is having a tough time. >> he's making it so much worse. >> he didn't send the picture. he's not addressed where did the picture come from. >> i didn't send that picture out. >> that's not a picture of you. >> here's a guy who's typically very friendly to the media. >> i'm not sure it rises to that level. >> this story is not going away as much as he insists that it does. >> john stewart might have had it right. >> no way in real life my memory has this cat has a lot more anthony and a lot less wiener. >> i can take it. i'm a big boy. >> in the newest reality show, rich people pretend to like times square pizza. >> joan of anchorage is back just to time to cure my ptsd, post trump sadness disorder. >> sarah palin in new york this morning is eating pizza in times square with donald trump. >> everybody in new york wants
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to chat with donald trump and have a slice of pizza. >> two kids having lunch. just chatting each other up. >> republicans are so bummed about their candidates that they're still trying to recruit more bad candidates. >> chris christie wants to cut your pension, but look at him fly around in his helicopter. >> let's talk about this helicopter. >> he took his helicopter to his son's baseball got. got into a limo and drove over to the field. >> not the best political imagery right now. >> there are people at home looking for opportunities to take out the knife. good evening from los angeles. where sex scandals are taken far less seriously than they are in washington. indeed, washington takes sex scandals more seriously than ç possibly anywhere else in the world including the vatican. which obviously has a very consistent record of underreacting to sex scandals and sex crimes. unfortunately for friend of the
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show congressman anthony wiener, his twitter traffic is now being judged by washington's puritanical standards after this photograph was tweeted from anthony wiener's twitter account to a 21-year-old woman in seattle. congressman wiener insists he did not send that tweet himself and has said he's not sure who else has access to his twitter account. the congressman believes that the picture was sent from his twitter account by a hacker. he explained it to nbc's luke russert this afternoon. >> i was pranked. i was hacked. i was punked whatever it is. someone sent out a picture. >> the ultimate question of what -- of every interviewer that the congressman faced today was this -- >> >> that's not a picture of you? >> you know i can't say with certitude. my system was hacked. pictures can be manipulated. pictures can be dropped in and inserted. was to make sure it doesn't
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happen again. but let's kind of keep in mind why this is so silly. someone committed a prank on me. somehow got access to my twitter account and put up a picture that made fun of the name wiener and that's what happened. >> you will not flat out deny that that photograph is not you? >> here's what i will say, i will say that we're trying to figure out exactly what happened here. whether a paragraph was manipulated that was found in my account. whether something was dropped into my account. whether a photograph was partially my account.ç >> is it possible that that photograph was on your blackberry, on your computer that you or somebody else may have taken of you and someone hacked in and took it off there? >> this is the problem we could theoretically keep following these questions. i've asked a firm who specializes in this who does it for big corporations to come in with internet security type people to try to do a forensic
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example examination if necessary to call in the authorities. at some point i think it's fair for me to be able to say enough. i'm done talking about this. >> you're not the only one who has noticed that to the question of is that a picture of you congressman wiener did not say yes or no. to abide by nbc's puritanical standards we are showing a pixellated version of the picture which makes it seem just a bit dirtier than it actually is. for those of you brave enough to take a peek at the contours of a human penis under cotton, you can find the photograph online very easily. the longer you look at the picture especially the unpixellated version, the more you begin to understand why congressman wiener might not want to deny that that is a picture of him. in fact, the longer i look at it
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the more i don't to deny that it might be a picture of me. and i want to hereby stipulate for the sex scandal press from the start of my twitter account many members of my staff have had access to it. some of them have occasionally tweeted for me at my word for word direction, but in fact most of my tweets have actually been done by my hand at a computer or on a blackberry.ç so remember, if you find scandalous tweets from me out there, the "last word" staff has always had access to my twitter account and i too reserve the right to use the hacker defense. if anthony wiener was a cable news host he could glide right by this twitter episode, or at least i as a cable news host would like to think so. but anthony wiener is in politics and surviving certain kinds of photographs can be
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difficult in politics. this photograph ended a political career in a record two hours and 27 minutes. if buffalo republican congressman chris lee had bothered to hang around for another day or two he would not have found me among the voices who might have been calling for his resignation. i for one found the shirtless photograph harmless and was not scandalized by it and had nothing mean spirited to say about congressman lee the night we covered the news of this photograph and his resignation. in fact, i wished him luck with his wife in getting her forgiveness for the episode. many congressman have engaged in much greater violations of puritanism and survived politically. especially liberal congressman representing liberal districts. in 1982 my mother's congressman gary studs of massachusetts was revealed to have had an affair with a 17-year-old male congressional page. given the conventions of the
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day, the media had every right to assume this was the end of congressman studs career before leaping to that conclusion myself, i called my mother and asked her what she thought of the situation. she told me she didn't like the apparent predatory nature of her congressman's conduct, but she said, he was a very good congressman who was very good on all of the issues that mattered to her and she would vote for ç him again. and she did vote for him again. in fact, congressman studs was re-elected six times after that. and eventually retired after 24 years in office. after unapologetically admitting his homosexuality and becoming the first openly gay member of congress. in 1987 barn nee frank became the first member of congress to voluntarily acknowledge that he is gay. two years later he found himself embroiled in the deals of a sexual companion of his and that
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mess ended up getting him dragged into an ethics committee investigation. his massachusetts' constituent's reaction was the same as my mother's reaction. he's a good congressman who represents them well on the issues that matter to them so they wisely ignored the details of his personal life when casting their vote on who should represent them in congress. now i don't suppose you have to be from massachusetts to have this kind of sanity in your voting pattern. but apparently it helps. nothing should matter to you less than the legal sexual conduct of any politician. you have seen me have fun with newt gingrich's string of marriages and extramarital dalliances some of which have led to marriage only because newt gingrich presents himself as being morally opposed to the kind of behavior he himself has engaged in. i for one would happily vote for
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newt gingrich tomorrow even if he had more wives than mickey rooney especially if he had the same wives as hickey rooney. former senator ensign's extramarital affair didn't bother he in the least and would never have affected my ability to vote for him. but his possible criminal misuse of money to cover it up was newsworthy and would affect my voting decision. newt gingrich's policy positionç would affect my voting decision. it's newt gingrich's policy provisions that would prevent me from voting for him not his marital history or his personal history. republicans have a much tougher time surviving so-called sex scandals because they spend so much time preaching against the kind of behavior they then get caught doing themselves. so republican careers die this way because the politicians stands convicted of hypocrisy.
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and because the politicians' career has been largely supported by people who actually believe that family values is something you can vote for, the constituents of liberal democrats are under no such delusion. anthony wiener can easily be re-elected in his district no matter what he tweets. and nothing has developed in this story so far that would prevent him from being elected mayor of new york, a job for which he is more than qualified and well suited. new york voters know that there is nothing that should matter to them in this twitter story as voters. sure they might find some fun gossip material in it, but as voters they are smarter than the political media that thinks there is something terribly important about anthony wiener to be learned from his twitter account. we can only hope that the majority of american voters are
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not far from understanding that human sexually is just that, human. that it comes in as many variations as there are people. that there is no particular form of sexuality. no particular level of promiscuity or no amount of abstinence that makes someone better at thinking about what our tax rates should be. voters need to realize that sex doesn't matter when it comes toç casting their votes. luckily for bill clinton enough voters came to that conclusion just in time to make him president and to re-elect him. the maturation curve of the american voter is obviously running a bit higher than the maturation curve of the american media. we will continue to dwell on sex capades long after the american voter considers them irrelevant to the question of how to govern the united states of america.
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still to come tonight, new jersey's republican governor chris christie takes a state helicopter to his kid's baseball game. and sarah palin stays on the publicity tour and donald trump ties to keep his name on the list of fake presidential candidates. [ groans ] [ marge ] psst. constipated? phillips' caplets use magnesium, an ingredient that works more naturally with your colon than stimulant laxatives, for effective relief of constipation without cramps. thanks. good morning, students. today we're gonna continue... ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] thanks to advanced natural gas turbine technology from ge, the power that will help make our nation more energy independent is right here in america. [ crickets chirping ] ♪ [ cheers and applause ] advanced gas turbine technology from ge.
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new jersey, governor christy takes a state helicopter from his son's baseball game back to the governor mansion not so he could continue doing the people's business, but so that he could meet donors from iowa who want him to run for president. and sarah palin's family vacation is still being treated as a will she, won't she run trip. that's next. [ male announcer ] a moment that starts off ordinary
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for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to cialis.com. sarah palin's barely legal personal publicity tour and family vacation has arrived in boston. after that according to the hill newspaper, the palin tour will head to the first presidential primary state new hampshire. the trip is barely legal because it is being funded with money from her political action committee, sarah pac. that money has been raised and is supposed to be spent under the strict regulation of federal campaign financing laws. it is specifically illegal to use that money for a family vacation. when palin was asked in washington, d.c. if this tour is a family vacation she did not deny it./ó/oíwrç+-">:ó >> i'm not going to say it's a family vacation kind of thing.
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>> we're meeting a lot of good folks already. the mission that we are on is to highlight america's foundation. and that's the nice thing getting to bring the family along for the ride. but making sure that people areç aware of where america came from. >> the federal election commission does not have the resources to police the use of the billions of dollars raised under federal campaign finance laws. but sarah palin has openly invited an investigation into her use of this money. for the fec not to now immediately start an investigation of sarah palin's use of campaign money would be a crime of its own. the fec has investigated the use of campaign money by these candidates. and those candidates never invited the media to chase them on a family vacation through new england financed with campaign funds. of course, you should never
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expect the political news media to investigate a palin campaign finance violation. the political media generally does not have a working comprehension of campaign finance law. when it comes to palin they are so busy covering the flashy images that she delivers that they rarely bother to look at the details inside palin world legal or otherwise. palin continues to make it abundantly clear that she is not running for president by meeting publicly with the biggest joke many the short history of the current republican presidential campaign. donald trump and sarah palin briefly merged their reality show last night at a times square pizza joint normally populated entirely by tourists who don't know where to get good pizza in manhattan. palin is smart enough to know that there is no good political reason to ever associate with
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trump in any way. but she also knows that there is no one else she could meet with in manhattan who could help her create a bigger stir in the entertainment media.ç palin and trump both know very well what business they are really in. and every step each one of them takes proves that. this morning palin and trump kept the game going. palin was her same old boring self. >> you know, i don't know if i'm going to be running yet. i'm sorry that i give you guys the same old boring answer on that one. but nothing's changed. i'll decide when the time is right. >> donald trump found a way to say absolutely nothing while he was talking about palin in the following 53 words on his video blog that has been posted on the website of the interment show "extra." >> i don't know whether she's running or not.
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i have a feeling she might not be, but i was not able to figure that out. i asked her very directly. i'm not sure that she knows, but if she did run, i think she'd really be a factor. so let's see what happens. >> trump once again picked fox news morning show "fox and friends" as the one place where he could get away with the laughable lie that he is still thinking of running for president. >> she'd love me to get back in. i had great poll numbers, but i had really a decision to make. but if i'm not happy with what i see, i could very easily change my mind. that i can tell you. >> you might still get in it? >> i'm not happy with what i see. and i will make a determination sometime into the future. absolutely. if i did it as an independent, i could do it very much later. there's no deadline whatsoever. >> your nbc deal, how would you walk from that? >> that ends in, you know,
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about, really about a month past from right now. so in other words, in 11 months i'm totally free to do whatever i want. >> joining me now is mark halpern author of "the page" on time.com and msnbc senior political analyst.ç no seriously, mark. that was my old title years ago. thanks for joining me tonight, mark. >> i'm doing my best to fill your gigantic shoes, lawrence. >> you've gone more than i ever have in that job. the palin fraud as i see it, you see this differently. you think there actually is the possibility that this is leading to a presidential campaign? it's like trying to predict lady gaga's next outfit. it's impossible. if you treat her as a rational actor, most of what she's done since the end of the 2008 campaign suggests she's not
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ready to run for president. i think with this bus tour suggests she is thinking about it. if you look rationally at the field, if she entered this race now and got a few breaks and handled herself well, i think she'd be the leader in the national polls and a strong candidate in iowa and south carolina at least. >> now, mark you and "game change" the book you co-authored, you studied palin and the campaign very closely. i think your camera in effect went in closer than anyone ever has in that world. what did you find in there that you think now is giving you clues as to what she's really up to now? >> that she's very ambitious and she believes she belongs on the national stage. it's something that she's comfortable with. and interested in seeking. she doesn't -- i think she's got a certain amount of resentment towards the political establishment evidenced during the campaign but also since then taking on the bush family, for instance, referring to them as
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blue bloods. in a way what suggests to me that the more people like you with all due respect suggest she's not going to run, she's a joke, i think it makes it more likely that she will run to prove people wrong. >> let me say it again, she's not going to run and she's a joke. >> what wiíl you do if she runs? will you eat a shoe? >> i'll resign my position immediately as the -- >> if she runs you should eat a large pie from that horrible place they went yesterday. >> there's no chance of it. there's absolutely no chance of it. we should come up with some sort of bet between us. what i like about this, mark, is you've dug into her closely and thought about the details of her history that you know and that you worked on discovering. i'm just look at it globally. i'm just looking at her from a much greater distance and what i'm seeing is a television performer. what i'm seeing is a celebrity. what i'm seeing is somebody who very consciously deliberately quit politics when she quit
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halfway through that governorship and that was a decision from which no politician could ever, ever recover and run for any other office even halfway successfully again. and so that's what's driving my analysis. >> a politician who didn't have her skill i think would be dead. and a politician who was running against a strong field would be dead. but she's running against three -- the three most likely nominees all have flaws in terms of running for the republican nomination. and she quit the governorship, i'm not here as an apologist for her, under the laws of the state her family was going to be bankrupt by litigation and public records requests. she wasn't interested in doing that. i'm not saying that's a positive for her. but i don't think it's a reflection of her ambition, her level of ambition or her interest in public service. >> i think she has absolutely no skills, by the way, and that she would get devastated and wiped out on a debate stage. i think she knows that and won't do it.
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but mark, to that point of the investigations that were going on there, there's a massive amount of palin e-mail that's ç going to be released in the reasonably near future from her very short time in the governorship. what kind of things do you expect to be in that massive haul that we're going to have pretty soon? >> i think we'll get a fuller picture than we have of the role her husband played. he was very involved often sitting in on meetings and being involved in personnel and other decisions when she was in office and he was the first dude as she called him. we'll get more insight into the decisions she made. her record as governor has some strong points to it. it has some mavericky things. it has some things that she could talk about and run against governors with longer records of accomplishments. we may get insight into that that's a positive for her. i suspect it's a portrait like we normally get. if you're someone that doesn't like her, there's nothing but negative. if you like her, you'll probably see some positive things as well. >> donald trump has admitted that her nbc contract prevents
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him to run for president in 11 months. where is he pretending that he has the kind of wealth to launch an independent financial campaign. of course, he doesn't. he works for nbc like you and i do. is there any possibility that the media can be fooled by donald once again? >> yes, although i don't see eye to eye with you on this one either. i think he's much more serious about running before than you do. he spent a fair amount of time talking to people working for his campaign. i don't know why he would have gone through hours and hours of meetings if it were a charade. >> because he needed to complete the charade. >> he didn't really publicize the meetings. >> he managed to link it out to the people who needed to know it to fake people out. that's the game. >> i think that the reality is you're more right than wrong. but he like sarah palin looks aç
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this field and says this is a field that can be taken down by a strong, late entry. and if you've got the ability to manipulate the media as both of them do to extraordinary extent you could imagine a scenario of getting in late and riding a pop ewe list wave to a nomination. they both have the ambition. >> thanks, mark. thank you very much for joining me tonight. coming up, the utter failure of sarah palin to comprehend the significance of immigration to american history. that's in the rewrite. and republican congressman paul ryan wants the president to stop says the ryan plan kills medicare even though the ryan plan kills medicare. at 190 miles per hour, the wind will literally lift ordinary windshield wipers off the glass. so, did we build a slower car?
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still ahead in this hour,
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in the spotlight tonight, new jersey governor chris christie takes a free ride at taxpayer expense. that's aftercq&ling for workers to give up benefits in the name of shared sacrifice and cutting the cost of government.
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yesterday cristy avoided traffic and take his state's brand new $12 million state police helicopter instead and take it to his son's high school baseball game. the governor landed on a sports field next to the game. and then got into a black car with tinted windows to ride all of about 100 yards to the baseball field. cristy and his wife then left during the fifth inning getting back into the car and then back into the helicopter which was designed for homeland security duties and transporting critically injured patients. cristy's next stop was the governor's mansion to meet with republican donors from iowa who were hoping to draft him into the 2012 presidential race. an iowa energy executive said cristy was uniquely suited to carry the party's message in
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2012. cristy has pledged to cut what he calls wasteful spending including all of the money for new jersey's office of climate and energy. on thursday cristy abandoned the northeast ten state cap and trade statement to lower carbon die, idea from power plants. the people of the state of new jersey should not be required to pick up the tab so he could meet with iowa donors. he's a governor who as u.s. attorney would rail against ç elected officials blurring the line. but this governor has selective memory and selective outrage. joining me now politics editor for salon.com. thanks for joining me tonight, steve. >> sure. >> steve, is this yet another
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instance of republicans looking for another candidate to save them from the bad candidates and if they ever got this candidate they would then discover what's bad about him. >> well, there's a lot of truth to that. the grass is always greener when it comes to unannounced presidential candidates. i do think the interest in chris christie a guy that's been governor for less than two years and before that didn't hold major elected office speaks in a large measure to the discomfort that republicans have with their field. but i do think it also speaks to the political strengths that he's shown in the last couple of years. he's a genuine sensation among republican grassroots on cable news, internet. he has strong communication skills when you compare him to mitt romney who can come across as phony and tim pawlenty who has a problem with being too boring and too stiff. chris christie comings across like he has some blood in his veins. there is some genuine interest in chris christie himself among
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republicans. i do think there is a thirst for another candidate. we saw that when wesley clark tried to get in the race in 2004. we saw it when fred thompson tried to get in the race late in 2008. when these guys get in, they don't usually look as well. i do think there's a guy to keep an eye on as well. >> it shows this is a guy who's not ready for prime time. who doesn't understand what it's like to be under close inspection and you don't take the state helicopter to your kid's baseball game or take theç state helicopter to a political event that has nothing to do with governing the state of new jersey. i think this little episode exposes the kind of thing that people are glossing over with cristy. >> i think that's true in a way you can say this does demonstrate something about his judgment and judgment that would be an issue in a presidential election just in terms of the kind of decisions he makes. i would say somewhat in his
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defense just having somebody who lived in new jersey and covered new jersey politics the governor takes the helicopter somewhere he shouldn't story is sort of a freebie that the party gets. i remember one of the first things i covered with mcgreevey with the inappropriate helicopter stage. there's a jump to the national stage and this stuff doesn't fly there. the really underscores a balancing act, a unique balancing act that he faces among presidential prospects. he's the republican governor, the conservative republican governor of a very blue state. when he was elected in 2009 he won by 4.5 points. that marked the second biggest landslide for a republican in new jersey in 37 years. that is the margin for error he has. it's basically nonexistent. a story like this. if there's a democratic story governor, a story like this isn't going to hurt that much in new jersey. when you're chris christie you don't have much of a margin for error. when you're talking about going nationally, you're talking about
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positions on climate change. that erodes things further. chris christie looking ahead to 2013 in what right now would be an iffy campaign for re-election at best. he's got to be very careful as he shows any interest in the national stage. everything he does nationally hurts him in the stage. this guy spent a decade of his life trying to be governor. he doesn't want to lose the governorship. >> his popularity in new jerseyç among the voters on a day-to-day basis is very low. he's dropped down to a 40% approval rating. the polls showed that barack obama would beat him in new jersey. this notion i found this notion that these guys in iowa have and these other people have about
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christie is ludicrous. the voters who are giving him a close look don't like what they're seeing. why wouldn't that be the same thing that happened on the campaign trail? >> you would look at new jersey and say it's not necessarily representative of the country when it comes to political opinion. it's a state that last voted for a republican at the presidential level in 1988. it's a state that hasn't elected a single republican to the united states senate since 1972. and that republican clifford case was essentially a democrat. he was more liberal than most of the democrats. it's a very liberal state that's gotten a lot more liberal. the simple fact that chris christie could win there in the first place granted in a strong republican climate said something for him. >> steve, an authority on new jersey politics thanks for joining us tonight. >> sure. and the statue of liberty leg of her bus tour today, sarah palin told reporters that lady liberty reminds her of other countries. she gets tonight's rewrite. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar.
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sarah palin visits the statue of liberty and ellis island and fails to understand what our immigration history teaches us. that's in the rewrite. and the president invites the house gop caucus to the white house leads a meeting and gets accused of not leading. a vacation on a budget with expedia. make it work. booking a flight by itself is an uh-oh. see if we can "stitch" together a better deal. that's a hint, antoine.
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>> that's a really stupid statement because we have clear direction. >> it's a private vacation on a bus with our signature on it. leave her alone, jackals. >> a really stupid statement. how dare she, john oliver asking a really stupid thing, impossible. time for tonight's rewrite. earlier today the most recent ç losing vice presidential candidate who will never be president take her american flag wrapped bus tour to one of the most beloved locations, the statue of liberty. >> it is of course the symbol for americans to be reminded of other countries because this was gifted us, of course by the french. other countries warning us to never make the mistakes that some of them had made. this is a symbol, a reminder of what it is that we can do right in the name of freedom. and that's what i appreciate
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about the statue of liberty. >> palin also tweeted about her trip which included a visit to ellis island where 12 million immigrants were welcomed into this country. we'll highlight the beauty of legal immigrants work ethic and love of freedom while visiting ellis island and statue of liberty today. before boarding the ferry to go to ellis island, palin told politico, the immigrants of the past they had to literally and figuratively stand in line to become u.s. citizens. i'd like to see that continue. and unfortunately the dream act kind of usurps that. the system that is a legal system to make sure that immigrants who want to be here legally working hard, producing and supplying revenue and resources for their families that they're able to do that right and legally. unfortunately the dream act doesn't accomplish that.
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in fact, the dream act applies entered this country illegally, but to immigrants who were brought as children to this country by parents wanting to give them a better life. and yes, those parents entered this country illegally. the dream act doesn't apply to those parents. it applies to their children only their children.ç they are high school graduates who have only ever known life in this country as their home. a federal dream act would give them a chance to become successful adults and taxpayers but going on to college with access to federal loans and in state tuition or they can serve this country in the military. only then, only then would they be given a path, an eventual path to citizenship. democrats understand this issue in a way only a diverse political party can. the future of this country is going to be built the way it
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house speaker john boehner told reporters this even that legislation raising the debt ceiling needs to be done over the next month to avoid negatively affecting financial markets. that is one month before the august 2nd deadline set by treasury secretary geithner. legislation to meet the speaker's deadline was discussed
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earlier today at a meeting between house republicans and president obama in the east room of the white house. despite being an off the record meeting, congressman darrell icea posted these pictures to his twitter account. here's how speaker boehner characterized the discussions. >> we had a very frank conversation. i thought it was productive. i told the president one more time this is the moment. this is the window of opportunity where we can work together and solve this problem. we know what the problems are. let's not kick the can down the road one more time. now's the time to deal with it. >> those comments came hours after speaker boehner released a statement demanding legislation raising the debt ceiling include spending cuts that exceed the increase in the nation's borrowing authority. and a new republican demand came in today's meeting when
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congressman paul ryan told president obama to stop describing his medicare reform plan as a voucher program. >> i simply explain what our plan is. how it works. it's been misdescribed by the president and many others. so we simply described to him ç precisely what it is we've been proposing so that he hears from us how our proposal works so that in the future he won't mischaracterize it. >> later, a reporter asked white house press secretary jay carney if president obama believes he has in ryan's words misdescribed the ryan plan. >> no. no, he doesn't. look, as i said, there is no question that there are differences. there's no question that on the issue of medicare we have significant differences. and what the president has made clear is that he doesn't believe that we need to end medicare as we know it, to dismantle the program as it currently exists in order to achieve significant deficit reduction. >> joining me now someone who
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was in the room today texas republican congressman blake farnfold who was in that meeting with the president. thank you for joining me tonight, congressman. >> always fun. >> congressman, did you learn anything from president obama today? >> i think we came to some agreements that there is a problem that we need to fix and to get the problem fixed we're going to have to turn down the political rhetoric and start talking intellectually rather than emotionally. that was the message that i think the republicans brought. and that ties into what paul ryan was saying. we're not throwing grandma over the cliff by trying to end medicare as we know it. we're trying to save it. and it's just a matter of using words and coming together and talking and not taking it to an emotional level, but dealing with it and an intellectual level far enough in advance that we are not under a time crunch to get it done. >> congressman, when bill clinton was running for president the first time around
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he campaigned on the phrase, end welfare as we know it. when he got into the presidency, he actually worked toward ending welfare as we know it and he said that and then in fact with the support of republicans in welfare as we knew it. why are you guys afraid of embracing the fact that you really do want to end medicare as we know it? >> well, i think -- because i think those are emotional words that tend to indicate we're throwing grandma under the bus, which is not the case. we're trying to save a health care system for our senior citizens that will work. the president believes it can be done through massive government control of the system and almost a nationalized medical system, but we believe it would work better under the private sector and with competition and patients making the choice, patients and doctors. >> and how much profit are you
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willing to allow the private sector to pull out of the medicare system and to pull out of tax dollars? >> it's not a matter of how much profit somebody does and doesn't get. what's the beauty of the free enterprise, competitive system that various doctors and insurance companies working on this will be negotiating in order to get the costs down just like the various insurance companies do with your private plan now. everybody has a different contract with a different doctor, and they all compete to see who's in what network. >> but, you know, congressman, the way i see it, you guys do want to kill medicare. you want to replace it with a different program and you want to call it medicare and okay, call it medicare if you want to after you've changed it so completely, i don't see why you're so afraid of acknowledging how dramatically you want to change this program. it would no longer be an entitlement that would cover expenses. it would be a strict limitation
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on how much expense it would cover and force people to find their own way.ç >> let's find a plan where the system doesn't go bankrupt in a matter of 15 or so years. give us another plan to work with. we came up with one. if we can get a workable plan from the senate, we'll listen. we're not married to our ideas. we've come one a plan. the president's massive health care reform plan of the previous congress i think has been clearly rejected by the american people. the election that brought me into office is evidence of that. >> congressman, i think you have just said the things necessary to find an agreement down the road. democrats in the past have found ways of trimming medicare costs going forward as they did in 1993. they cut the rate of increase of medicare significantly while keeping that structure in place. i think they can do it again.
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